I am an avid animal lover. You name a pet and I probably owned it at one point growing up.
When I came to college, it was hard for me to leave all of my furry friends behind (oh yeah, and my family and friends, of course). But I knew that having a pet in college was impractical with all of the stresses of college along with tiny dorm rooms.
Then, the summer before my senior year, I went out one morning with friends to get bagels, and came home with a puppy.
We happened upon him by chance – a man standing next to a dirty blue bucket with strange whimpering noises coming out of it.
I walked over and peered into the bucket and was greeted by the precious faces of a dozen of the smallest puppies I had ever seen: Teacup Chihuahuas.
The tiniest puppy looked up at me from his hiding spot in the corner, with a terrified expression on his face.
I picked him up and he whimpered as he spastically licked me and buried his face into my neck, his tiny body shaking with fear.
I then did what any other human being with a soul and a soft spot for animals would have done: I immediately bought him and didn’t put him down until I had him safely inside my apartment.
It was a spur of the moment decision, love at first sight!
I didn’t even really have a change to think it through before I bought him. But hey, he weighed less than a pound and fit in the palm of my hand, how much work could he be, right?
The answer, by the way, was a lot. This puppy tested my sanity and ability to care for an animal while being a full-time student.
The first day with the puppy, I couldn’t have been happier. I named him Luke, after my favorite country singer, Luke Bryan. My friends and I went to the pet store to buy supplies, and played with him for the rest of the day.
That night I put Luke in his crate and was almost asleep when suddenly I heard a high-pitched squeal, followed by what sounded like the shrieking of a Pterodactyl.
I sprung out of bed and raced into the laundry room to find Luke, covered head to toe in poop, squealing hysterically.
I washed him off, took him outside and played with him for a while until he fell asleep. I put him back into his crate and had just fallen asleep when I was awoken once again by his shrill crying. This trend continued for the entire night, and by the next morning I was exhausted.
As the days wore on, it didn’t get any easier. Luke was so little, and required constant supervision. He made messes and cried through the nights, and I had no idea what I would do in a few short weeks when I had to be in class all day.
I was shocked by how quickly my priorities shifted from myself to this little pup. I forgot to shower, and barely managed to make time to eat. My moods changed constantly and I felt the stress of my rash decision to buy this puppy. I felt like a single mom with a very hairy infant; I was in way over my head.
As much as I loved this tiny puppy, I realized early on that I couldn’t keep him. It was not fair to Luke or me. I reluctantly interviewed several people until I found the perfect family for him.
They came over to meet him and he warmed up to them right away, and so, fighting back tears, I sent him on his way to what I knew would be a better home.
A few weeks later my roommates took me to buy a fish, and he has turned out to be just the right pet for us — much less responsibility, but still an animal to care for.
I learned that most college students do not have the time or energy with full-time class schedules and social commitments to properly care for a dog. So think twice before purchasing a pet while still in school, you still have your whole life ahead of you.
Courtney Andrews is a senior at Wake Forest University. She is a double major in English and psychology and is currently working on a research project with children struggling with autism. She hopes to be a clinical psychologist after attending grad school.